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How to choose an SD card?



Well, there isn’t a dearth of SD cards in the market, but if you were to choose one how would you go about it? While purchasing an SD card, there are certain factors that a user must pay close attention to. This will minimize chances of facing compatibility issues, enhance performance and save you from having to write it off too soon.

First, let’s understand that SD cards use flash memory and are widely used in electronic devices such as smartphones, digital cameras, e-Readers, video cameras and a score of other devices. The best thing about an SD card is that it can save you from buying additional units such as adapters, converters and other supportive devices to run them. With an SD card, you can transfer your photos from one phone to the other or computers and so on.

Things to consider when buying an SD card

The basic elements that you need to focus on when buying an SD card include its physical shape and size, storage capacity and speed.

Size of an SD Card

Determining the size of an SD card you want to purchase neither takes long not entails much research. There are three sizes that you can pick from, classified as standard, mini and micro. The standard is usually the biggest in the lot while the mini refers to the medium one and the micro is the smallest. So, if you are looking at a catalog to make your selection, you will be able to make out simply by reading what’s written on it. If your SD card is of a size other than the standard one, the details will be tagged in front of it.

Every device is designed to enable an SD card size that’s compatible with it. It’s best to read the manufacturer manual to check whether your card is supported by the device or not. Most smartphones that support SD cards use Micro SD. Other devices such as laptops, digital cams and camcorders typically use standard-sized SD cards. If you choose a Micro SD card, you can be assured to be accompanied by one adapter.

 SD Card Memory

The next thing to consider when purchasing an SD card is its storage capacity. Primarily, you’ll find three types of SD cards. These include SD card or SDSC (Standard Capacity), SDHC (High Capacity) and the SDXD (Extended Capacity). The capacity range of each category of the SD card can be determined from their respective labels. The most important factor when buying any of these types would be to check whether your device supports the chosen format. In any case, SDHC and SDXC cards are backward compatible although SD host devices are not forward compatible.

Speed Ratings 

The SD Association has a speed class rating system categorized as 2, 4, 6 and 10. It refers to the minimum transfer speed of the card that also determines its write speed. The reading speed is typically faster than its writing speed in SD cards, especially those rated by the SD Association.

For instance, class 2 speed offers 2MB and above, class 4 speed offers 4MB and above, class 6 offers 6MB and class 10 offers 10MB and above.

Price Factor 

The price of your SD card largely depends on the speed class. You can select to buy one that meets your requirements. Understanding the recommended speed of the SD card can save you from spending unnecessarily. Buying a slower card also would make no sense. If your purpose is to record HD video, you will need faster speed SD cards such as the class 4 one. However, class 2 cards are good enough for SD video recording or transferring them or even backing up files.

Buying the right SD card 

As far as the file systems are concerned, you won’t need to understand the nitty-gritty of the systems. All systems can read and write to FAT file systems and you can reformat the SD card to most file systems. SD cards are bootable and if need be, you can install an entire OS on it. So, if your system fails, your SD card can dual up as a system recovery mechanism. Note that FAT file systems might not support large files exceeding 4GB.

Check your device requirement before buying an SD card so that you can be sure of the size of SD card your device is ready to take. High-resolution camcorders or other such devices usually state the specific requirements as to which memory card is required to record at the best bit rate. In most cases, a faster-rated card is usually useful if you are using it to expand the storage in your smartphone or laptop. The faster read and write speed will ensure a better response. In still image cameras, faster cards facilitate clicking faster photos in the burst shot mode. You can consider class 10 cards as they aren’t that expensive but can be quite useful.

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Mudassar Hassan brings 8 years of experience in helping grass roots, mid-sized organizations and large institutions strengthen their management and resource generating capacities and effectively plan for the future. He is also a mentor and professional advisor to artists working in all disciplines. He is also the gold medalist from Abbottabad University of Science and Technology in the Bachelors of Sciences of Computer Science and recently Graduated from the University of Bolton with Masters in International Management.